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Know the West

The Wayward West

  Idaho is not a hotbed of white supremacists and neo-Nazis (HCN, 3/16/98), says Idaho Gov. Phil Batt. His campaign to restore the state's image has taken him to the slopes of Sun Valley, where the 70-year-old onion farmer told 2,600 members of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, an all-black group, that Idaho has been tarnished by "a handful of malcontents and screwballs who have chosen to make their home here," AP reports.

After two years of talks, 16 citizens' groups have reached an out-of-court settlement with Stone Container Corp. to end disputes over pollution violations at the company's Missoula, Mont., paper mill. The mill will pay $50,000 in fines, $150,000 to find alternatives to burning chlorinated plastics, and $450,000 for environmental protection and cleanup, including the restoration of the Clark Fork River riparian areas and bull trout habitat.

After a year of probation and 100 hours of community service, Oregon's Wes Cooley hopes he still has a few friends. The former Republican congressman has announced he's running for the seat he lost when he was convicted of lying to voters about an illustrious military career. Some Republicans are hesitant to give him the nod. "I really think the guy is chasing a wild dream," said Jerry Drake, a Grant County deputy sheriff and Republican leader, in the Oregonian.

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam still have a friend in Rep. Chris Cannon. The Utah Republican has introduced legislation to keep the federal government from spending money on drawdown studies (HCN, 11/10/97). "If Lake Powell needs a champion, I'm happy to answer that call," Cannon told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I love Lake Powell."

New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest may soon count another 95,000 acres as its own. Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman has introduced legislation that would authorize Congress to buy the Valles Caldera west of Los Alamos. It's the world's largest extinct volcano and includes the Jemez River headwaters and mountain meadows. The land's value has not yet been appraised, but its Texas owners have long wanted to sell the land to the public.

* Dustin Solberg